During the debate on the Fortitude Budget (Jun 4), MP Sylvia Lim, in her speech, commented on the “blind spots” that have been uncovered because of Covid-19. One such “blind spot” includes the inequalities in lives between men and women.
She cites that “domestic violence cases recorded by the Singapore Police rose by 22% since the circuit breaker measures started, while the NGO Aware disclosed that calls relating to family violence in April this year were more than double those of April last year.”
She also gives more examples of how women all over the world are more vulnerable to Covid-19 such as “the global health workforce is estimated to comprise 67% women, with many women in roles most exposed to the virus” and that during the lockdowns, women are “bearing the brunt of family care responsibilities,” which would in effect affect their careers.
According to Singapore’s Home-Based Learning for students, “Mothers on the whole appear to be spending much more time with their children than fathers…With everyone home all day, foreign domestic workers face overwork and having inadequate rest.”
In relation to the government putting together an Emerging Stronger Task Force, Lim noted that the Task Force has a gender imbalance with only two women out of 17 members, a “dismal” 11%. Lim feels that the Task Force could benefit from having more women who understand gender issues. She also notes the “weak” representation of multi-racial voices such as not having a member who is Malay, and that there is no one representing SMEs.
However, some netizens took to Facebook to comment that the issue isn’t on gender balance, but about the “quality” of the people chosen to be in the Task Force.